Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mind, Gene, Spirit

According to Wired, scientists have started to study how brains are expressed in genes. In the other words, which portion of human genes decides the growth of brain in contrast to controlling the growth of the other part of our bodies such as hand and foot?

Is this project interesting? Certainly. Based on the assumption that most of the human behaviors are controlled and determined by brains, the project, if ever it would succeed, might reveal us the answer of a question in long history---where thinking comes. But, is the assumption as sound as it appears being?

This blog intends to share creative product of human mind. In fact, the name of the blog is about thinking---an unique mind behavior. Philosophically, however, I always believe that mind is not only a product of mass computation but also (and more crucially) a product of spirit inspiration.

I do not lean to the viewpoint that Newton thought of the Universal Law of Gravitation under the apple tree was primarily due to some weird, unusual, but fascinating chemical reaction occasionally occurred in his brain at the moment. If it were the case, why in nowadays we witness much less great discoveries, innovations, and philosophies than a few centuries ago, while we are in an age that not only significantly outnumbers our ancestors, but also is much more knowledgeable in general than our ancestors. If genius thought is primarily due to unusual mass computation in brains and we agree to that the whole set of knowledge unknown is infinite, we certainly should already have many Newton-like scientists in these centuries. In reality obviously we have few. But the number is incomparable to the number if it truly follows a normal random theory, which it should be only if our thinking really is decided by the objective mass-based brain computation.

I believe the existence of spirit and God. The project may lead to great results. But it cannot answer the question we wish to be answered.

1 comment:

John Rodrigues said...

Yihong: Great post; this is a fascinating topic. We seem to be avatars within an awareness. It is well-documented how human brains have shaped the large-scale environment, e.g. through limbs to tools to machines, and of how brains cooperate in social fashion, yet it is less obvious what the limits on small-scale are, e.g. stem cells. Others have approached this by trying to determine the boundaries of memories or beliefs, e.g. Lipton. Appreciate your insights. Thanks.